June 20, 2019
Establishing a Style That is Uniquely “You”
BY MARK KLEIN
Unsure if your art has a consistent style to it? Concept illustrator Mark Klein @officialartmark talks about his journey to find his unique artistic style in the latest Bee Paper blog.
Inspiration Isn’t Direct Replication
I remember reading comic books from a young age. I was amazed at the stories and how they could all be told from a series of still images. Jack Kirby’s art was my main inspiration. I loved his style: the bold lines, inking and, above all, his storytelling. His art captured my imagination and inspired me to create my own worlds and characters.
Jack Kirby, Marvel Comics
I often get asked how I developed my artistic style. To be honest, I wasn’t aware that I had a particular “style”, but upon studying my artwork, I realized that I do. I think of an artist’s style as being the DNA of their work. That DNA carries over to all of your work. When exploring your artistic style, draw or create like “you”, not anybody else. It is great to have artists’ work that you enjoy and are inspired by. But, in the end, you will find that you have fallen into your own style.
As a concept artist, I am able to take an abstract idea and put it on paper. A writer or a director will explain the feel or theme of the character or setting. This allows me to combine my ideas and style to another creative’s idea. I usually come up with several ideas for the writer/director’s story, and then we decide what will be used in the end product. I enjoy the freedom and exploration of my own ideas. It is both challenging and fulfilling. Especially, when I see the end product on a page or on the screen.
Inktober: Do it!
A wonderful tool for new, or even professional artists, for developing your style is “Inktober”. Every October, artists from all over the world contribute to “Inktober” on social media. For 31 days, you are given a “prompt” on the subject of the day, all you need to do is draw that subject in ink and post it for others to see. This is helpful in many ways. First, it gives the artist responsibility; the artist is held accountable by other participating artists to contribute every day. This teaches novice and student artists the skill of working with deadlines.
Inktober 2018 Prompt List by Jake Parker @jakeparker
Inktober Entries by Mark Klein @officialartmark
Another way Inktober can improve your skills is by comparing Day 1 to Day 31. You will be amazed how much you grew as an artist over 31 days in the fall. I participate in Inktober every year, and I am looking forward to seeing all your work in #inktober as well.
Good luck and keep creating!